The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns around the country spurred another record month for online grocery shopping. According to a results from a new Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey released today, online grocery sales hit $6.6 billion in May, up 24 percent from April (which was a record month as well).
The online survey was conducted from May 20 – 22 with more than 1,700 US adults, and showed total online grocery orders grew 18 percent month-over-month to 73.5 million in May, up from 62.5 million in April. In the press announcement, Brick Meets Click said that this increase was driven by increased capacity as retailers added more time slots for fulfilling orders to keep up with demand.
The number of households ordering groceries online increased as well, with 33 percent (roughly 43 million customers) saying that they shopped for groceries online during the previous 30-day period, up slightly from 31 percent in April.
Households also increased the number of orders placed and their total spend per order in May. Households placed an average of 1.7 orders for either delivery or pickup, up 10 percent from 1.6 orders in April. And the average order was $90, up $5 from April. Brick Meets Click attributed the spend increase to higher consumer prices that started in April, improvements to product availability and customers getting more comfortable with online grocery shopping.
Despite all that growth and record setting, the question remains as to how permanent these new behaviors are. States are starting to ease their social distancing restrictions, allowing people to be out and about more freely. And Bloomberg reported on a McKinsey survey yesterday that showed 7 in 10 people still shopped at the grocery store during the pandemic. As Bloomberg noted, online grocery still suffers from clunky ordering processes, entrenched habits and the fact that people are fussy and like to pick their own produce.
Given the relaxations of lockdowns, it’s unlikely we’ll see another record month for June. Rather, we should anticipate a drop. How big of one, we’ll have to wait and see.